After a frustrating 90 minutes of the struggling Gerrards and Rooneys, I thought I’d cleanse myself from that, and quite desperately needed an entertainer; not just any entertainer, but an engaging, pretty and strong piece of cinema. So, I went to my nearest Vue cinema for the late show of Raavan, and it turned out that Raavan was a huge disappointment. For starters, this was a Mani Ratnam movie which he had simultaneously made in two languages – I don’t know why he does that – to cut production costs, or to reach out to more audiences without going down the dubbed route. Hmm!! But having watched Raavan, I believe, the Tamil version has to be a quite different film for it to work. It is so pretty to watch at, and the visuals are stellar no doubt, sometimes to the length that it looks like an extended version of a cross between the Roshni Se Bhare Bhare – video from Asoka [Santosh Sivan] and Mani Ratnam’s own – Barso Re Megha from Guru.
A little premise for those who don’t have any clue what the fuss is all about. Mani Ratnam’s latest feature since 2007’s Guru, Raavan tells us the story of a village called Laal Maati, a place where Beera (Abhishek Bachchan) rules, rocks and reigns. He is the law and order and he is the chaos too – for the official law and order ie. That’s the modern take on the Hindu mythology epic -The Ramayana. Dev (Vikram) is the parallel for Rama, the cop who would not give in to the control of Beera in Laal Maati. And he would not confine himself to the lawful means. Dev’s wife Ragini (Aishwarya ) gets kidnapped by Beera, and that’s when all hell breaks loose. Dev is on the hunt of Beera with double the intensity, and is aided by a drunkard Sanjeevani (Govinda – I believe he’s playing Hanuman). Dev’s search for Beera and what follows next is just a turn of events about Beera’s reason for revenge against Dev.
Now, I know that the epics are making an epic return to the big screen – first Rajneeti with the Mahabharat and now this . But Raavan is not an epic by any stretch of imagination. The visual opulence is the only thing that Raavan can boast of. The music is by A.R.Rahman is by all means sub-standard. But the biggest flaw of the movie is its hollow screenplay and the hammy Abhishek Bachchan who puts on a million expressions just for the sake of looking schizophrenic. C’mon dude, Raavan isn’t suffering from multiple personality disorder. He had 10 heads, 10 brains – that is meant to be a metaphor of how intelligent and how mentally advanced was he compared to the normal man, and not to mean a person of conflicting opinions. I have so many complaints with this movie, and I have listed them below.
Hit the Jump for the list.
1. Aishwarya Rai – Ragini – Sita – whatever, you no longer belong to the 80s. So stop screaming in that screechy little voice of yours. Your tears do nothing to me, and neither does your waterfall washed face. I don’t like your choreographed recap as the dance teacher – as if you HAD to be one of those. Your dialogues made me squirm, especially when you said – Tum Mujhe Nahi Maar Sakte, Mujhe Nahi Marna, Marungi To Apni Marzi Se, [ You cannot kill me, I don’t want to die, If I die, I’ll die on my own wish ] – and then you jumped over the waterfall, without thinking what the rocks could do to that plastic face of yours. Of course, the jump lifted your Sabyasachi Mukherjee outfit in the air, and Santosh Sivan’s bullet-time shot made it look a bit fancy. But I giggled, coz I clearly knew you were on wires.
2. Abhishek Bachchan – Beera, or are you Lallan. I like Lallan [from Yuva]. So go back to your Mandodari , I mean Rani. You still have a Lallan hangover in the way you talk, you walk and everything else. Stop coochy-cooing with this cop-wife. As Ravi Kissen jee pointed out, she’s gonna bring the ‘giroh’ to its doom. And for fuck sake, stop taking references from the Heath Ledger Joker. You can never even start looking an inch of the sinister and menacing persona of the Joker.
Not even with that black make-up, or even with the Haldi-Chandan Vicco Turmeric look. And no, Raavan never learnt how to do Taandav.
3. Vikram – Dev – they made you a bit grey didn’t they. You are no longer the positive and white Rama. You are the modern day cop. One who believes in – Jiski Laathi, Usi Ki Bhains. I liked your portrayal, but I am sorry, your character was too much overshadowed by your flashing Ray-Ban shades.
4. Mani Sir – Seriously, WTF were you smoking? #Fail all the way. Please bring back the deep characterisations, the intricate relationships woven perfectly with the narrative and above all, please bring back a story which connects, rather than which vibrates in the dialogues of AB J’s Jhik Jhik Jhik – Ek Sawaaal. Please sit down with Rahman sir, and make him do a better job next time. AND .. DON’T LET ASH GO IN THE RAIN. She gets really naughty with her husband. All that tai-chi in the rain – that’s Oriental, not Hindu mythology. And I’d have preferred if Beera was more Veerappan, you know – more like Jungle’s Sushant Singh than the jungle boy sucker for romance. And seriously, polygraphic tests – Ramayana meets Sach ka Saamna ha!
Having said that, the only saving grace of the movie are Chichi bhaiya(Govinda) in a rhyming avatar Hanuman and is cleverly named Sanjeevani. He blurts out his own versions of Dohas and is as phurteela as the Pawan Putra is depicted in Ramayana. And of course, the Samay-Rath-dhaari Ravi Kissen jee steals the show every time he appears. I think this is the only time I felt absolutely not irritated and not annoyed by him, perhaps due to the presence of other annoying Rai elements 😀 . Those are the only two convincing characters in the movie which seem as they were enjoying being there.
Oh, and the climactic bridge event. Now that was beautiful! But the movie, wasn’t. Did I spoil it enough for you, ya aur chahiye?
I know, it has been a very disinterested post on my part, but I can’t help. At least it is more engaging than the movie. What’s your take on it, leave a comment please 🙂